History, to me, is about engaging with other cultures and narratives not of your own and finding the universal in each topic. I try to engage my learners by showing them how events which seem distant and abstract at first, still resonate with us even today. Anniversaries are a fantastic way to show this to pupils. In the last year alone, we have studied the causes of World War II during the almost exact 80th anniversary of the month of the outbreak of the war and earlier this year we studied the United Nations role in the Korean War around the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of this war too.
Another way I like to engage pupils by using realia from people who experienced events to bring huge events down to a human-sized level again. Most memorably when we were studying World War II last year in Year 9, Mr Wharton allowed me to use a collection of carefully preserved letters and documents from his grandfather’s time in a German POW camp, which the pupils found both awe-inspiring and sad. In these tumultuous times, we can use all the cultural sensitivity and awareness we can get and studying history is one of those invaluable ways of bridging the gap between peoples and cultures, one of the central values of a well-round international education.